Time for some hardcore nerd action now. Engineer Bill Hammack shows you just what you’ve always wanted to know: how on earth a Liquid Crystal Display works. Well, it’s probably not what you’ve always wanted to know, but it’s interesting stuff for us nerds who like to know how stuff works.
Besides, don’t you want to know what makes that glowing rectangle you’re staring at for 90% of your day tick?
I’m not sure if there’s anything sadder than sitting at home on a Saturday night and learning about the functionality of LCD displays or not. If there is, it’s probably sitting at home on a Saturday night and blogging about the functionality of LCD displays. But hey, here we are!
Adobe has put up a page detailing the new features available in Photoshop CS5 here. Highlights for photographers include content-aware fill, the new warping tools, refined selection tools and improved HDR use.
Get details about all the Creative Suite packages and their components from here.
An official release is expected within a month. In the meantime, there are already a number of videos available at the Photoshop CS5 Learning Centre.
A few links to various photo-related topics have caught my eye in the last few days:
- Photo radar has an article with numerous handy tips for aspiring street photographers.
- £500 and a lot of ingenuity can get you some photographs from space good enough to make NASA blush a little.
- Stunning macro shots of sleeping insects covered in morning dew.
- The Sistene Chapel is usually teeming with tourists and finding peace among the throngs is a challenge. This 360-degree panorama of Michaelangelo’s masterpiece is the next best thing (the page has background music).
- Reuters has a slideshow with before-and-after shots of various world landmarks unilluminated during last weekend’s Earth Hour. Not to be outdone are the shots at the Big Picture.
In praise of assistants, today brings a small group of links for and about photographic assistants.
- This exceedingly detailed article by digital assistant Patrick Lavoie explains the workflow he uses when he works with fashion photographers. I’ve used a very similar workflow on shoots and Patrick’s piece will give you more info than you will likely be able to digest in one sitting.
- A post from Vincent Laforet discusses a photo of Michael Phelps from the Beijing Olympics in Sports Illustrated and the fact that it is credited to both Heinz Kluetmeier and his assistant Jeff Kavanaugh. As Laforet states, “it’s incredibly rare for photographers to give their assistants any credit for the images they take while on assignment with them,” but in this case, the photographer acknowledged the work of his assistant by sharing the credit for a great photo.
- And lastly, PDN has two interviews with photographers relating how they made the jump from assistant to photographer here (PIper Carter) and here (Sherry Loeser). The short answer: once your work and confidence are good enough, just do it and commit to it.
The post from DIY photography has a couple of helpful hints about reducing the amount of plugs, adapters and wires you need to bring along with you the next time you are taking your camera on the road.
Depending on the amount of gear you take with you, it can be a bit of a hassle to have to tick off a dozen trinkets on your packing list just to keep your gadgets charged. This tip aims to minimize that clutter.
Julius von Bismarck, a student from Berlin, has come up with a clever hack of his old Minolta SLR so that instead of capturing an image, it projects one. Dubbed the Image Fulgurator, it’s not just any old projector. It’s controlled by a sensor which syncs the projection with flashes from nearby cameras, making the projection all but invisible to the naked eye and visible only on the image of the flash photographer.
This post on Wired details Bismarck’s invention and some of its potential uses (and misuses). Of relevance to the travel photography site that you are currently reading, imagine you’re visiting a famous landmark and you want to take a few shots. Maybe it’s a little dark and you want to lighten things up with your flash, but when you look at your photos, all is not as it should be. Maybe there is an ad where a wall should be. That seems like the most likely scenario to me – that advertisers will try to get a hold of an Image Fulgurator and project their brands into your holiday snaps. Forgive me cynicism, but remember, if there is a vacant area available, it will eventually get an ad placed on it one way or the other.
Ads and pranks are the obvious uses for this invention, but a more productive use might be to use it for some special effects in photography. Depending on the kind of quality you can achieve, maybe you could use something like this in the studio to create backgrounds out of nothing. Maybe that’s a little ambitious for this early incarnation of the device, but the potential may be there.
Let’s just hope this never falls into the wrong hands!
If you’re a photographer working in (or passing through) the US, you may want to take a look at this post on Chase Jarvis’ blog to find out more about a new regulation that has just gone into effect in the United States regarding the transportation of Lithium-ion batteries (the kind that may power cameras, flashes, laptops, etc.).
Long story short, there are now limits to how many spares you can carry and you will likely have to carry them in your carry-on baggage. The rationale behind this change is that if the batteries catch fire, they can potentially burn hot enough that the fire extinguishers in the baggage compartment may be insufficient to put out the fire and there are better systems in place in the cabin to handle such occurrences.
Flyingwithfish.com has some more information here and also has an interesting suggestion on how to carry more spares here: if the battery is installed it is not considered a spare. If the battery is in a charger, it is considered ‘installed.’ This may or may not get you through security with an extra battery or two, but it’s an interesting thought.
Nikon World has an article with Dave Black discussing light painting techniques. If you’re not familiar with it, light painting is just what it sounds like: during a long exposure, use a light source (flashlight, laser pointer, flash gun, etc.) to paint a scene. The article goes into more depth about different techniques that can be used for small objects like a flower to large scenes like an ice climber.
It’s a fun technique and good for any bored photographer with a camera, a dark room and a flashlight.
Editorial Photographers has an article featuring Chip Simons essentially interviewing himself. It makes for a decent read for when you are feeling a little down in the dumps creatively. Chip reminds us of a few lessons that are always helpful to take to heart like, “Shoot whatever you want that make s you happy and gets you excited about shooting more and more.”
Unfortunately, I’m not as fortunate as wedding photographer Cliff Mautner who recently had the chance to use the upcoming Nikon D3. His first impressions are glowing to say the least. I mean, just look at how many exclamation points he put in the title of his post!
Cliff’s brief review of the Nikon D3 makes the camera sound very promising. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to one of these under the Christmas tree?
PopPhoto has an article about a new application called Helicon Focus that can aid photographers attempting to achieve extreme depth of field. (See the manufacturer’s site here.)
It looks like it could be a handy tool if it works as well as PopPhoto says it does. The process is one of taking multiple shots at different points of focus and then importing them into the software. It then combines the images to achieve a depth of field you would not be able to get with a single shot.
Though its uses may be somewhat limited (it wouldn’t work on a moving subject), it could be useful for macro, still life and landscape photographers who are willing to take the time required to achieve this effect.
This past Saturday’s issue of the NY Times featured a travel section dedicated to travel photography and it’s online for your reading pleasure. (You may need a subscription to log in.)
The section features articles on photo tours, images of Angkor from John McDermott, photography in Shanghai and plenty more.
The generally accepted way of linking information together on the Internet is by means of text-based information. Images have typically been related to each other by means of the text-based data attached to them in the form of keywords, descriptions, tags and so on.
But what if the images floating around on the web could be linked together by means of the content of the photo itself? What if your shot of the Notre Dame Cathedral could be analyzed and connected with everyone else’s shots of the landmark? And their shots could be connected to the detail shots shots everyone has taken so that you could zoom in to each detailed carving in a three dimensional representation of the Cathedral?
The answer just may be Photosynth, a project being developed by Blaise Aguera y Arcas at Microsoft. The video of the Photosynth demo is jaw dropping. The assembly of a virtual space based on flickr photos of Notre Dame is rather incredible and inspiring stuff.
DIYphotography has a tip on how to change the shape of your bokeh that might produce some fun results. Get yourself some thick, black paper and start cutting!
This release adds support for a number of cameras, but it also has some helpful new features. Photoshopnews.com has a handy article detailing what’s new in Camera RAW 4.1.
Photocritic.org has posted an article on how to win a photography contest. He is one of the judges for the Crestock Photography Contest and imparts potentially useful information for those looking to snag the top prizes.
I’m not an especially big fan of photography competitions myself. I’ll enter them from time to time, but I don’t find myself getting too emotionally involved in the results. If a photo of mine wins, that’s okay by me (and I certainly won’t turn down any prizes!), but my victory in a contest isn’t going to set the standard by which I judge my images. Photography is far too subjective for me to get hung up about a win or a loss in a contest. If I’m happy with the quality of my work and if my clients are (even better!) then not winning a contest won’t hurt my ego too much.
It’s also important to make sure of the terms before you enter any contests. All too often, contests seem to be interested in using your photos in such a manner that you should be compensated for that use. Before entering anything in any contest, take a good look that you aren’t giving away your copyright, or that you aren’t granting the organization in charge of the contest some perpetual royalty-free use for any media type and subject. In case you are wondering, the Crestock competition, seems photographer friendly and they aren’t likely to grab any rights they shouldn’t.
Flashflavor.com looks like it will be a promising resource for wedding photographers. This blog by photographer Matt Adcock discusses the techniques he uses while working at weddings and, even though the blog is young, there’s already some good tips in the content there.
The travel photography blog of photographer Tewfic El-Sawy makes for a good read. He describes his blog as “opinionated and (sometimes) acerbic commentary on travel and editorial photography.” Topics include travel photography contest news and photographer spotlights.
After having a quick look through the site, it looks to be informative and well worth an add to my RSS reader’s feeds.
The Luminous Landscape has this article on addressing the challenges of shooting in the Amazon. Michael Reichmann discusses helpful gear to bring, storage considerations and how to deal with some of the hazards that might keep you from successfully shooting in the jungle.
Finally. It took more than a month, but we finally have an Internet connection here at the apartment. No more procrastinating on emails for me!
And that means that I have spent the last little while indulging in some reading of a few of my oft-visited sites. Here’s a roundup of a few things I’ve found:
First, a couple articles from John Harrington has a couple of worthwhile articles to be found at his photo business blog. First of note is this article on the importance of valuing your own work. As photographers, we work hard and invest a lot of time and money to create images. We should be compensated properly for that (and no, 50 cents or a byline is not sufficient compensation).
On a related note, he also has an article on the value of post-production work that details the time and investment made in making those captured images look that much better.
Continuing on the photo business theme, Dan Heller has written an article that is a good starting point for negotiating prices for your photos which focuses on establishing the rights both the photographer and the client has to use the images.
On a non-business-related theme, this page gives some interesting trivia about the resolution of eyes and just how many megapixels would equal if they happened to be made of digital sensors.
And lastly, I’ll throw in a little travel article here to balance out the travel and photography sides of this site. gadling.com has an article about five ways not to get ripped off while travelling. Most of it is common sense stuff, but a lot of people seem to forget some of them anyway.
Regarding the point that you should keep your personal gadgets hidden, I met girl in Thailand who had an interesting solution to this difficulty: she had covered her camera in stickers that had gradually started to wear off. The thing looked like a piece of junk, but it was actually a decent little digital camera. If you can bear to do that to your equipment, that’s one way to keep your gear hidden in plain view.